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Poster: dead-head_Monte Date: Oct 12, 2010 7:09pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Scotty's Music - Int'l Steel Guitar Convention

Cliff and everyone,

I cannot answer anything but the last question, "Know anything about it?"

Scotty's Music dot-com, and Scotty's Music Store, are synonymous with the International Steel Guitar Convention. This world-famous venue was originally billed as the Steel Guitar Convention. The event happens in St. Louis every year on Labor Day Weekend. Scotty's Music puts it together. Scotty upgraded it to "international" after he noticed steel players from overseas were coming to his convention every year.

My musician pals from St. Louis were raving to me about Scotty's when we hung out and worked together in 1976. Bob Briedenbach (pedal steel, lap steel, and dobro player) and John Jump (guitarist, singer, songwriter) were Scotty's biggest cheerleaders at that time. John, Bob and I first met when they moved down to Louisville from St. Louis after they joined the Bluegrass Alliance band. Most of us lived together as roommates at Harry Bickel's place in Louisville. We cycled through Harry's place in rotation, often moving out and living as roommates at other places nearby. Vince Gill and I were roommates at Harry's place. At one point, Vince and I moved out together, and we shared an apartment upstairs from "the grannies' place." Both of us lived at Bickel's place several times. Bickel's place was a musician's hangout and live-music jamming house - a lot like the one at Haight-Ashbury.

Bluegrass Alliance band members dumped bandleader Lonnie Peerce in late summer of 1976, and they formed their own band, and named it Lazy River. I was the soundman and taper for both bands. Vince Gill was in both bands. Sam Bush and his benchmark Newgrass Revival band were formed exactly the same way - by dumping Lonnie Peerce and the Bluegrass Alliance name, circa 1971. Here is a short YouTube clip of Lonnie Peerce, Tony Rice, and Sam Bush together, playing in the Bluegrass Alliance in 1971.

Bluegrass Alliance alumni and Monte (hiding) - Dec 14, 2008 - Bickel's place - Louisville, KY

the Bluegrass Hotel project getting hyped
Tony Rice, Curtis Burch, Dan Crary, J.D. Crowe, John Cowan, Sam Bush

That's how I wound up in St. Louis in 1976 on Labor Day Weekend at Scotty's steel guitar convention... with my tape deck, of course.

The sound engineers there and myself had a pleasant chat about musicians, live music, taping, and sound equipment. I was guessing they were some of Nashville's best engineers. Then I told them I needed to tape some of this stuff, and I asked for a soundboard hookup for my Nakamichi tape deck. They were so damned honored that I had asked them that question, they started stumbling over each other to help me get the very best hookup any taper could ever want. That's when I went outside to my VW bug to smoke a few bowls and get my Nak.

When I went back inside, the engineers had a special rig put together for me. It was a stereo soundboard feed into an external stereo Audio DA box (distribution amplifier). This stuff was setup on a small road case, next to the soundboard. They even provided me with my very own lighting rig on a goose-neck mount. I could actually "see" for once what I was doing when I taped, instead of fumbling around in the dark, taping secretly. All I had to do was get my AC power adapter plugged into an outlet. These are easily the most unique of my tapes that I ever put into circulation. btw, all my tapes are unique.

To my surprise and great disappointment, Doug Jernigan wasn't there playing his pedal steel guitar that year. It was the incredible Hillbilly Jazz album that Jer's pal, Vassar Clements put out in 1974, that first introduced me to Doug Jernigan's phenomenal steel playing. That double-album, put out by Flying Fish Records, featured Vassar and Doug playing swing, jazz, country-blues, and rock-a-billy style music - the best renditions I ever heard. Miraculously, I happened to be living in Nashville in 1975 when Vassar's Hillbilly Jazz band played with Doug - for one weekend only, live at The Exit / In. I taped both nights.

My tapes from Scotty's steel guitar convention remained unpublished until recently. I circulated them last year on Labor Day weekend. That's when I began peeking around to see what's up with Doug Jernigan. Vassar passed away in 2005. Doug is still playing. He's made recent appearances at Scotty's. So I bounced an e-mail over to Scotty - he's still alive. I don't remember him at all. I told Scotty to get my tapes, and I mentioned my Doug Jernigan / Vassar Clements' Hillbillly Jazz tapes also. Then Scotty sent me Doug's e-mail address. I e-mailed Doug and told him about my Hillbilly Jazz tapes with him and Vassar, and, my 1976 tapes at Scotty's steel guitar convention with Buddy Emmons, Curly Chalker, Jimmy Day, Lloyd Green, Wally Murphy.


Scotty and Doug Jernigan are most definitely thinking, WTF!! - who the hell is Monte Barry? lmao...

The Steel Guitar Hall of Fame

Track 3 is an instrumental named, "I Can See Clearly Now," during Lloyd Green's set. Near the end of it, Scotty gets recorded. The man is heard "coming out of his MC shoes." Funny as hell. If you ever wanted the next best thing to a "fly on the wall" about Jer and Scotty, there ya go. Now, close your eyes and try and imagine Scotty and Jer in 1970, 71, 72... (music fades up...) There's no doubt they were pretty good pals, at one point. This early vintage YouTube clip of Scotty's steel guitar convention has an old photo of Scotty's Music Store at the beginning.

My documentation and material for everything listed above: the music, tapes, pics, YouTube clips, and my notes. Everything is on The Archive, easy to reach from my home page there: Monte the Taper archives